Young Women’s Trust responds to Education Committee’s report on childcare

26 July 2023

Today (Wednesday 26 July) the Education Committee published a report looking at the Government’s proposals on childcare, announced in the Spring Budget.

The report says there is more work to be done to ensure children, parents and childcare providers can benefit from the reforms.

Responding to the report, Claire Reindorp, Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust, says:

“Young mums are disproportionately hard hit by cost of living pressures and struggling to access and afford childcare only makes the situation worse. Transforming childcare could unleash their potential to thrive, and to make the contribution to the economy that they want to.

“While we welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of more support for parents with the costs of childcare, there have been big concerns about how much impact this can truly have without wider reforms and we’re glad to see the Select Committee address many of these.

“Through our research with young women, we know that as well as affordability, young women need childcare to be flexible enough to work for the lives they lead. Often working shifts or in jobs with antisocial and unpredictable hours, 9-5 models of childcare don’t always work for them. The report rightly recognises the role of childminders in providing this flexibility.

Young women need the support available with childcare costs to be understandable and easy to access. But as the Select Committee points out, the current support is often completely baffling to navigate. And for young women in training or education, trying to further their careers, they can’t access free hours at all. So the recommendation that this barrier is scrapped would make an enormous difference.

“The early years workforce – a large proportion of which is young women – is overstretched, underpaid and undervalued, like many female dominated sectors, and despite doing one of the most important jobs in our society. We’re glad to see recommendations to address this.

“Fundamentally, though, the system needs funding and this is recognised in the Committee’s recommendations to address the funding gap which is forcing nurseries to close at an alarming rate. The nurseries most affected are in more deprived areas, serving young women on the lowest incomes. A fairer system of funding would help to ensure these young women do not have their options narrowed still further by the loss of this vital infrastructure.”